It’s Official: Bloggers Are ‘Journalists’ Too


Disclaimer: this image is approximately 80% accurate

Today seems to be both Good Friday and “News About the State of Journalism Day”, so here’s another revelation that shouldn’t surprise you: bloggers are now journalists too–at least in the eyes of the law.

Since the story in question occurred in the state of Florida, also known as the source for 95% of Gawker’s traffic, the details are a little weird.

Basically, a blogger wrote a post making fun of a guy charged with shooting two dogs that he supposedly mistook for wolves. Lots of people ganged up on the shooter in the comments, and he sued the blogger for libel. The writer, however, successfully argued that the case should be dismissed because, under Florida law:

“…anyone who brings a defamation case stemming from statements in newspapers, periodicals or ‘other medium’ must provide advance notice.”

The offended party argued that the blogger didn’t qualify as real media, but the three-judge panel disagreed:

“…it appears clear that many blogs and bloggers will fall within the broad reach of ‘media,’ and will qualify as a ‘media defendant’ for purposes of Florida’s defamation law.”

The point is that bloggers are entitled to the same legal rights as old-fashioned journalists. That’s not to say that David Pogue and Sam Biddle–not to mention some guy who blogs about tech or gaming or bluegrass music in his spare time–are equal in any way.

It’s just one more example of the leveling of the media playing field.

[H/T Online Media Daily]

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: April 18, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT